In Matthew’s account of Easter morning, the angel says to the women: “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.”
The angel knew why the women were there, what low expectations they brought with them, unmindful that Jesus would rise “as He said.”
We are so used to promises that are not kept. Others have made promises to us – big promises and little promises – marriage promises and career promises – long on promise, short on follow through.
We have made promises – promises to God and promises to each other, confirmation promises to make faithful use of the means of grace, promises of faithfulness no matter what- promises often feebly kept or kept not at all.
There are the wispy promises held out by summer vacations, retirement, the golden years – that somehow our earthly life will one day be perfect – and we will get organized – and caught up – and be healthy – and happy – and these do not keep their implied promises either. We’re used to un-kept promises, as in commercials and political ads.
But none of these are God’s promises. Listen: “He is not here: He has risen, just as He said.” When God speaks, when Christ speaks, things always happen just as He said.
It’s like those first two verses of Genesis 21 when Isaac is finally born to Abraham and Sarah in their old age after years of waiting. The text says matter-of-factly: “Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what He had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God promised him.”
Like these women on that sad Saturday without Jesus, we struggle in our own days of sadness, pain or disappointment – to collect a single godly thought. We can scarcely pray. Bible passages which deeply moved us on Sunday morning seem deleted on Monday. But here, on Easter, an easy verse to remember – hold it in your heart and before your eyes – no matter what happens on this side of the river. “He has risen, just as He said.”
God always keeps His promises. Sarah looked down at the baby in her wrinkled arms and laughed, just as God said. Moses led Israel out of bondage, just as God said. God Himself was born of a virgin at Bethlehem, just as God said. Christ came back from the grave, just as He said.
He lives! If this…then what about all the other stuff God has said – pardon, peace, heaven, a hand to hold us in the dark valley? Yes! Yes! Don’t be surprised! It will happen! Just as He said!